If there is a drop in the level of hormones floating around the body the egg preventing mechanism can fail, and ovulation may take place. Things which can drop the level of hormone include:

Not taking the tablet—If you miss a tablet, or are late (by more than twelve hours), you can’t maintain a high enough level of active hormone in your blood stream. This is a common cause of pill failure.

Not absorbing the hormone—The pill is designed to be swallowed, and absorbed from the gut at a certain rate. Different things can affect the rate and efficiency of that absorption, such as

• vomiting and diarrhoea

• some medications (prescribed and non-prescribed), including antibiotics, prednisolone, and vitamin C. These can change the types of bugs which live in the gut, and may also affect the rate at which the liver breaks down the hormones. If taking any medication ask if there are any interactions with the pill.

So what do you do? If you are beset by any of these potential pill-failing pitfalls you should keep

taking the pill, and either abstain from intercourse or use a barrier method, like condoms (properly) plus the pill, for the time of decreased absorption, and for at least SEVEN CONSECUTIVE HORMONE TABLET days after. If these days of being careful run into the sugar tablets (or the hormone-free time when you would normally expect to get your period), don’t bother with the sugar tablets that month. Don’t have a break, or a period, just go straight from the hormone tablets at the end of the packet straight on to the hormone tablets at the beginning of the next one. You may have a little spotting or bleeding during this next cycle if you have skipped a ‘period’, but that is preferable to giving your ovaries a chance to think about making an egg, if you don’t want them to. If you have any questions about what to do contact your doctor, or Family Planning Clinic.

When used properly the pill has a tiny failure rate—only about two pregnancies per 1,000 women years. How’s that, compared to up to three per 100 with an IUD and anywhere up to fifteen per 100 for the condom and twenty per 100 for the diaphragm?

However we are more likely to hear about the pill’s potential side-effects than it’s usefulness and efficacy as a pregnancy preventer. It is widely used with a high degree of safety. To put this in perspective, let’s look at the possible problems with the pill.


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This entry was posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 9:08 am and is filed under Women's Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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